For the Daily News
The Mississippi State University Music Department will present a collaborative program entitled ââCome to the Cabaretâ: A Lecture-Recital on Cabaret Songs by Great Composers and Poets.â
The Lecture-Recital is set for Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the MSU Architecture Building.
This interdisciplinary series was created four years ago by Dr. Karen Murphy, collaborative pianist in the Music Department, to feature great poetry set to music by great composers. So far it has presented lecture-recitals of songs set to the poetry of Sylvia Plath (2008), Emily Dickinson (2009), and T. S. Eliot (2010), with faculty and students from the Music Department performing and Dr. Nancy Hargrove, Giles Distinguished Professor Emerita of English, providing the commentary.
This yearâs program will take a slightly different approach as it will showcase art songs in the cabaret style by various composers and poets with sets of French, American, British, and German songs.
Among the French cabaret music to be performed is âLa Vie en Rose,â made popular by Ădith Piaf, who wrote the lyrics; Francis Poulencâs âVoyage Ă Parisâ and âHĂŽtel,â set to the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire; and Erik Satieâs âJe te veuxâ set to a poem by Pacory.
Among the American/British songs are the Gershwinsâ well-known âThe Man I Loveâ; âAmorâ with music by William Bolcom and lyrics by Arnold Weinstein; and âTell me the Truth about Loveâ and âFuneral Blues,â two poems by W.H. Auden set to music by Benjamin Britten.
In the set on German cabaret are âMack the Knifeâ from âThe Threepenny Opera by composer Kurt Weill and playwright Bertold Brecht, and four songs from the acclaimed musical âCabaretâ: âWilkommen,â âDonât Tell Mama,â âMoney,â and âLife is a Cabaret.â
Dr. Nancy Hargrove will comment on the genre of cabaret and prior to each set will point out what is distinctive about cabaret in each country and give a brief introduction to the songs to be performed. Her remarks will be accompanied by Powerpoint illustrations.
Dr. Murphy has organized this program and also serves as the director as well as the pianist. She received her doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota and joined the MSU Music Department faculty in 2007 as the collaborative pianist. She has performed with singers, instrumentalists, and choirs throughout the United States as well as in France, Spain, and Canada.
Dr. N. Hargrove taught for 38 years in the MSU English Department before her retirement in 2008. An internationally known scholar on the works of T. S. Eliot and Sylvia Plath, her most recent book âT. S. Eliotâs Parisian Yearâ was published in 2009. She presented papers on Eliot in London, Malta, and Glasgow in 2010 and in the coming year will do the same in Boston, Paris, and Florence.
The singers include three current faculty members and one retired faculty member from the MSU Music department.
Dr. Rebecca Wascoe, soprano, will sing Satieâs âJe te veux.â She received a doctorate in Vocal Performance and Literature at the University of Illinois and serves as the Coordinator of Vocal Studies in the MSU Music Department. She has sung varied operatic roles, including her recent debut at the Annual Voice Festival in Dierbach, Germany, and has received numerous awards in national and international competitions.
Gregory Wascoe, baritone, who will sing âMack the Knife,â is working towards a doctorate in Vocal Performance at the University of Illinois. He teaches Studio Voice and assists with the Opera Workshop on the MSU campus and is choral director at the Meridian campus. He has performed in operas, oratorios, and concert works and recently was a featured soloist at the International Vocal Institute in Dierbach, Germany.
Dr. Wayne Davis, tenor, who will sing Poulencâs âFĂȘtes Galantes,â received the DMA in 2009 at the University of Texas and joined the Music Department in the fall of 2010. He has sung professionally with such companies as the San Francisco Opera, the Sacramento Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, has performed solo roles in oratorios including âElijahâ and âThe Messiah,â and has taught at Pattern University in Oakland, Calif.
Dr. Guy Hargrove, who retired in 1995, will sing Poulencâs âHĂŽtelâ and âVoyage Ă Paris.â Holding the Ph.D. in Vocal Performance and Literature from the University of Iowa, he also received the Licence de Concert (Chante) while studying French art song in Paris with the famed baritone Pierre Bernac, for whom Poulenc wrote many of his songs. He has concertized throughout the United States and Europe, most recently on the MSU campus, in St. Louis, and in London.
Students in the MSU Music Department will perform as well. âLa Vie en Roseâ will be sung by Elizabeth Jones, soprano, from Starkville; âThe Man I Loveâ by Emily Hobson, contralto, from Brandon; âSong of Black Maxâ by Stephen Kelly, baritone, from Olive Branch; âAmorâ by Hollyn White, soprano, from Madison; âTell me the Truth about Loveâ by Justin Pitner, tenor, from Booneville; âFuneral Bluesâ by Lily Hudson, mezzo soprano, from Columbus; âWilkommenâ by Aaron Mann, baritone, from Carthage; and âDonât Tell Mamaâ by Maureen Hughes, soprano, from Starkville. âMoneyâ will be performed by Mann and Hughes, while the entire cast of faculty and students will join together for the finale, âLife is a Cabaret.â
According to organizers, this program, which is open to the public free of charge, will provide both entertainment and information about cabaret music and promises to be a great deal of fun.